URGENT PROTECTIVE WORK E.P.S. organisations are to co-operate in dealing with fires which have become frequent during the dry weather. In a statement last night the Minister of Civil Defence (Mr. Wilson) said that, in districts where there were no fire-fighting organisations such as those in forest fire districts, certain State forests, and in city and other local body communities, chairmen of local E.P.S. organisations were to assume full responsibility for fire-fighting in the districts under their control, and to instruct E.P.S. squads in their districts that they must be prepared to fight any fire that might occur. Any person who was unable to cope with a fire must immediately notify the nearest E.P.S. fire warden, who would endeavour to arrange for a local farmer, with assistance if necessary, to quell the outbreak. Failing that, the E.P.S. squad must endeavour to do so in a body. If this in turn was inadequate, the E.P.S. squad leader should) arrange for the nearest authorised officer to be notified and, if all local attempts to put the fire out were insufficient, the Army should be called upon for assistance if any camp was within the vicinity. -"It is an unfortunate fact that for every one of the fires reported there have been probably ten unreported," the Minister said. "Yet hardly one of these fires has not been the result of gross carelessness on the part of foolish individuals. What is worse, is that most of these fires could have been put j out or suppressed by passers-by or by local inhabitants before they had caused any significant damage." Not for many years had the Dominion been .faced with such widespread fire danger as it was today. The position at present constituted a hazard so widespread that existing official personnel was totally inadequate to meet all emergencies that might arise. Mr. Wilson appealed to every citizen to take all steps to extinguish any small fire, and by such action prevent it from spreading and causing widespread damage.
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